Since I found out about W's cancer, I think It's fair to say that I've never been sure what to tell the cherub.
Advice from the professionals at Maggies and Marie Curie has been the same - tell the truth, be honest, but not brutally honest. Don't hold out false hope, but equally don't tell him bluntly that his dad will be dead before Christmas. Children experience time as being so much longer than adults, and an expected lifespan of 4-10 more months is pretty vague anyway.

So communication with the cherub has been pretty much as follows:-

From dad "You know how I've been having tests lately for this cough I've got? Well they still don't know what the problem is, but it does look like I might need to have an operation. If I do I'm going to need you to help look after me when I come out, make me soup and stuff. And let me win on the x box right?" (November 2008)

From dad "Well they're going to take half my lung out. The good news is that it's going to be my left lung, and because your left lung is all squashed against your heart, it means that it's so much smaller than the right lung. So if you have to lose a lung it's definitely the best one to lose." (December 2008)

From dad "Guess what? they didn't take the lung out at all! They've left a big scar on my back like I've been attacked by Jaws, but they decided it wasn't worth bothering with the lung. So I'll be home sooner" (January 2009)

From dad "Well they've finally found out what's wrong with me. I've got a really rare kind of cancer. It starts in your blood cells, and that's why they took so long to find out. This is good news though, because these doctors are going to be paying special attention to me now" (February 2009)

From mum "Cherub, has your dad told you all about his cancer? Do you have any questions?
Cherub "No" (April 2009)

From mum "Cherub, you know your dad's quite seriously ill don't you? The doctors are doing all that you can, but first of all the operation was no use, then the radiotherapy didn't work, so now this chemotherapy is sort of the last attempt"
Cherub "OK" (May 2009)

From mum "You know you could do a project with your dad this summer, maybe build a blog, or a photo album or something. Would be nice to look back on later"
Cherub "Nah" (June 2009)

From mum "You know Maggies Centre have great people to talk to. There's people there could talk to you about your dad's cancer and how you're feeling about it."
Cherub "Nah" (June 2009)

From dad "What d'ye mean your pals don't know I've got cancer? Do they think I'm just bald because looking after you makes me tear my hair out? Does Andrew think I'm sleeping all the time because I'm some kind of old lazy git?
Cherub shrug (July 2009)

From mum "I think old Jock dog's going to be staying with us permanently now, seeing's how your dad's not going to be able to walk him or anything when he gets out the hospice"
Cherub "OK" (August 2009)

Anyways it looks like our communication is failing spectacularly. Yesterday W, who has been in the hospice for the past fortnight, attached to various tubes, and hobbling 10 yards max, got a text from the cherub checking if he was down the park.....